IFAIR’s Series in Times of Corona: Today from Germany
North Rhine-Westphalia, March 28, 2020: A warm and sunny day, one of the first days of spring. People and plants alike are taking in every ray of sunshine, blossoming up and showing their brightest colors and smiles. Parks are once again filled with people. Families taking a tour by bike with their youngest children, couples are going for a walk with their dogs. A normal day? These days and images almost make you forget that this spring of 2020 is anything else but normal. Taking a closer look at these families and couples you realize that there is more than one group missing: Where are the elderly people accompanying their grandchildren? Where are the groups of young people meeting for a match of volleyball?
North Rhine-Westphalia is one of the states in Germany that has so far refrained from enforcing a complete quarantine. While shops, schools and restaurants are closed, people are still allowed to go outside with the people they are living with or in pairs of two. So far, the majority of people seem to comply with these measures. Families and couples are keeping their distance from each other, exchanging not much more than a brief smile and a short “hello”. Germans are probably not very known for their great solidarity. Yet, the fact that one is still allowed to go outside shows that solidarity not always implies being close to other people. These times are teaching us that keeping our distance and sticking to the rules is at least one way of showing solidarity.
Alma studied European Studies in Maastricht and is now doing her Master's in Political Science in Bonn. In between her degrees, Alma spent time abroad in South Africa, South Korea and Argentina. She is very interested in the field of international development policy.